World Sugar History Newsletter

Number 2, May 1983

In this issue:

  1. Editors' Note
  2. Research in Progress
  3. Archive Report
  4. New Publications

This version of the World Sugar History Newsletter, Number 2, May 1983, has been edited for the purpose of on-line display. The contents remain complete.


There has been an excellent, enthusiastic response to the first number of World Sugar History Newsletter. In this second number, we are able to offer a list of more than fifty scholars working on sugar history or on topics in which sugar figures prominently. In our next issue we hope to provide a further list, for we are still receiving replies and postcards from colleagues in response to the last WSHN. There are, however, a number of important regions still not covered in the listings, so we are still anxious to hear from scholars, including graduate research students, who wish to receive WSHN and who should like to record their own research interests. In this way we hope that WSHN will not only provide a compendium of research in progress in our field but that it will also open up lines of communication and encourage exchanges between colleagues working in sugar history.

As we stressed in the last number, we hope that WSHN will also act as a sort of "bulletin board" in our subject. To that end we intend to publish in future issues more detailed information on current research in the field, including abstracts of theses, books, essays, journal articles, and review essays. We hope also to give space to reports on research in progress, with the emphasis as much on methodology and sources as a description of the scope and aims of projects. We warmly encourage colleagues to use WSHN to proselytize and to publicise their creative labours, by sending us short reports or abstracts of recently completed work or research in progress. Graduate students should feel particularly encouraged to send us abstracts of their dissertations. If colleagues send us offprints of recently published work or even notices of forthcoming publications, we will be very pleased to include a reference to it. Further to the WSHN's function as a bulletin board, we should be especially pleased to publicise forthcoming meetings, conferences, or seminars which have cane or beet sugar or associated topics as a theme for discussion and debate. We should also like to publish conference reports or summaries. The point is that through the WSHN colleagues will be able to address their work and advertise scholarly events to an international audience of academics which has a specialist interest in sugar history.

In addition to our listing of scholars and current research in sugar history, we include in this number another Archive Report, this time by Roger Munting on the agricultural engineering archive at the Institute of Agricultural History, Reading, and some short notes on recent publications of interest. A reference guide to recent works on the Indonesian sugar industry, prepared by Alec Gordon, has had to be left out because of limitations of space. It will appear in the next issue. Contributors and participants in the recent International Sugar Conference at Edinburgh, and other colleagues will be pleased to learn that publication of the conference papers under the title Crisis and Change in the International Sugar Economy, 1860-1914 is proceeding well, and we will have full details of this in the next number of WSHN.



P. L. Chalmin, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, 292 Rue St. Martin, Paris 3e, France.
"History of British sugar refining and history of world sugar markets."

Stanley Engerman, Department of Economics, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.
"Contract labor in the 19th century and its role in the world sugar economy."
"The adjustments to emancipation of slaves in the US and the British West Indies."

Jerry Hagelberg, 12 Radcliffe Road, Winchmore Hill, London N21 2SE, UK.
"World sugar market."
"Sugar in the Caribbean. Sugar industry management and finance."

J. H. Galloway, Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, M5S 1A1.
"The sugar cane industry AD 600-1980: an historical geography."

Omer Mont'Alegre, Brazilian Institute of Sugar & Alcohol, 6 St. Albans Street, London SW1 4SP, UK.
"The sugar industry in Latin America and the Caribbean."
"The Brazilian sugar industry."

Pascal Pecquet, C.R.I.G., 860 Ave. de St. Priest, 34100 - Montpellier, France.
"Technical change in sugar and the manufacture and diffusion of machinery and techniques."

M. Tadman, Department of Economic History, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.
"Implications of sugar for slave demography and the slave system generally."


W. G. Clarence-Smith, Department of History School of Oriental & African Studies, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HP, UK.
"General economic history of Portuguese colonial empire in the 19th & 20th centuries."

Peter Richardson, Department of Economic History, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
"The sugar industry of Natal and Zululand 1849-1936."


B. S. Bavaskar, Department of Sociology, University of Delhi, Delhi-7, India 110 007.
"Sugar co-operatives in Maharashtra, India."

R. E. Elson, School of Modern Asian Studies, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, Australia.
"The system of forced cultivations in Java, 1830-1870, and their social impact on peasants."

Alec Gordon, 6 Eider Court, Dorking Close, London SE8 5PE, UK.
"Impact of the organisation of sugar production on Indonesia's socio-economic structure."

John A. Larkin, History Department, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14261, USA.
"Socioeconomic history of the Philippine sugar industry, 1565-1941."

Alfred William McCoy, School of History, University of New South Wales, P.O. Box Kensington, NSW, Australia 2033.
"Social history of Western Visayas region of the Philippines and the impact of sugar."


Christoper Abel, Department of History, University College, Gower Street, London WC1, UK.
"Political economy of the Dominican Republic in the first half of the 20th century."

Alain Buffon, Centre Universitaire Antilles Guyane, BP 409, 97163 Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe.
"Economic and social history of 19th century Guadaloupe and study of sugar centrales (usines)."

Gerulf Augustin, Universitat Hanover.
"Joint project on Jamaica." (See below under Claus F. Stolberg.)

Stanley Engerman. (See General section above.)

Jerry Hagelberg. (See General section above.)

Kusha Haraksingh, Department of History, University of West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, West Indies.
"Labour relations in the Trinidad sugar industry."
"Economic history of Trinidad in 20th century."

Gad Heuman, Department of History, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK.
"A comparative study of the planter class in Jamaica and Barbados."

Muriel McAvoy-Weissman, Department of History, Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, Mass 01420, USA.
"Bibliographical study of US investors in Cuban sugar in the early 20th century."

Jane Orttung, Alexander Library, Rutgers University. New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
"Cuban sugar merchants and brokers, relations with the US and international money markets."

Andres A. Ramos Mattei, Calle 2/10, La Campina, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, 00926.
"Sugar technology and social change in the Spanish Caribbean, 1870-1920."

Sidney Mintz, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., USA.
"Social history of Caribbean region including material on plantations and sugar."

Francisco A. Scarano, Department of History, U-103, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn. 06268, USA.
"Sugar and slavery in 19th century Puerto Rico."
"The rise of colono farming in early 20th century Puerto Rico."

Christian Schnakenbourg, UER D'Economie et de Gestion, Universite de Picardi, F.80025-Amiens Cedex, France.
"Economic history of the French West Indies in the 19th and 20th centuries."

Rebecca Scott, Department of History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
"The economic and social history of the Cuban sugar industry, 1860-1940."

Claus F. Stolberg, Universitat Hannover, Historisches Seminar, Schneiderberg 50, West Germany.
"Plantation economy and land reform in Jamaica 1930-1980. Historical conditions, problems of implementation and experiences of the target group." (Joint project with G. Augustin.)

John Ward, Department of Economic History, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9JY, UK.
"The amelioration of British West Indian slavery, 1750-1834."


Rainer Dube, Saverbruch Str. 41, D-33 Braunscweig, West Germany.
"Joint-stock companies and beet sugar in 19th century Germany."

Jacques Fierian, Department D'Histoire, Universite de Nantes, Chemin de la Sensive du Tertre, BP 1025, 44036 Nantes CEDEX, France.
"Beet sugar in France."

Gyorgy Kover, Karl Marx University of Economics, Budapest, Pf 489, Hungary.
"Hungarian merchant banking in the 19th century and its activity in agrarian industries."

Elmar W. Krause, Department of Sugar Technology, Technical University of Berlin, Amrumer Str. 32, D-1000 Berlin 65, West Germany."
"History of beet sugar in Germany and the collection of relevant documentation."

Roger Munting, School of Economic & Social Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.
"The development of Russian sugar beet industry before 1914."

M. R. Palairet, Department of Economic History, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
"Economic demography of 19th century Balkans (including the sugar industry)."

John Perkins, School of Economics, University of New South Wales, P.O. Box Kensington, NSW, Australia 2033.
"Sugar beet in Germany 1914-45. Comparative sugar taxation: Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, 1840-1902."

Hans J. Teuteberg, Historisches Seminar, Westfalische Wilhelms-Universitat, Domplatz 20-22, D-4400 Munster, West Germany.
"The sugar industry, sugar cartels, and sugar duties in Germany, 1850-1914. Sugar consumption in Germany, 1850-1975."

Katarina Vadkertyova, Bratislava, Mileticova 10, Czechoslovakia.
"History of beet sugar in Slovakia."


J. L. Miege, Institute d'Histoire de Pays d'Outre Mer, 29 Avenue Robert Schuman, 13621 Aix en Provence, France.
"Reunion/Mauritius sugar industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries."


Bill Albert, School of Economic & Social Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.
"A political economy of Peruvian sugar, 1880-1980." (Joint project with C. D. Scott.)

Roberta Delson, Department of History, Princeton University, 129 Dickinson Hall, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.
"The economic and social history of the Brazilian sugar industry, 1900-1920."

Peter L. Eisenberg, Historia, IFCH, UNICAMP C.P. 6110, Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
"Population and mobility in the transition from subsistence to sugar production: Campinas, Sao Paulo, 1760-1830."

Michael Gonzales, Department of History, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA.
"Plantation agriculture and social control in northern Peru, 1875-1933."

Donna Guy, Department of History, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA.
"Study of Refineria Argentina."
"Relationship between sugar production and state support for cotton growing in 1920's."

Humberto Rodriguez Pastor, San German no. 487, Lima 25, Peru.
"Japanese contract labour on a Peruvian plantation 1899-1924."

C. D. Scott, Department of Economics, London School of Economics, Houghton St. London WC2A 2AE, UK.
"A political economy of Peruvian sugar, 1880-1980." (Joint project with Bill Albert.)

Omer Mont'Alegre. (See General section above.)

Arturo Warmen, Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, UNAM, Torre 2 de Humanidades, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico 22, DF. Mexico.
"Agrarian reform and the building of centrales - maize and sugar in Morelos, Mexico."

James W. Wessman, PRLACS, State University of New York at Albany, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, New York 12222, USA.
"Demographic and regional analysis of a number of sugar producing areas of the state of Jalisco, Mexico."

John Womack, Jr., History Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass 02138, USA.
"The history of the sugar industry in Veracruz, Mexico, 1880-1940."


Edward Beechert, Department of History, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA.
"Wages in Hawaian sugar industry."
"Comparative study of Fijian and Hawaiian sugar labour forces."

Adrian Graves, Department of Economic History, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9JY, UK.
"Political economy of Queensland to 1914."
"Indentured labour migration."

M. D. Moynagh, 11, Bartlett Court, Clifton Down, Bristol, UK.
"The Fiji sugar industry since 1850."

Ralph Shlomowitz, Department of Economic History, Flinders University of South Australia, Australia.
"Melanesian labour and the development of the Queensland sugar cane industry, 1863-1906."

Ronald Takaki, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley, Calif 94720, USA.
A study of the development of the sugar industry and the making of a multiethnic working class. To be published as "Plantation Life and Labor in Hawaii, 1835-1920," by University of Hawaii Press in 1983.


Company Records and Archives, Institute of Agricultural History, Reading

The Institute of Agricultural History at the University of Reading (Berkshire, England) houses many records including those of some agricultural engineering companies. Some of these may be of value to historians with an interest in the sugar industry. The Institute has records for the following companies: Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries; Fowlers; Hunts; Nalder and Nalder; Wantage Engineering; Clayton and Shuttleworth; Marshalls. They vary considerably in volume and detail but all are well and clearly catalogued. (The archivist has developed a system of indexing. The parethetic numbers below refer to that system.)

The most useful collection in relation to sugar is that of Fowlers, an engineering company based in Leeds. This company specialised in the production of steam ploughing equipment which was much used in the sugar beet regions of central Europe before 1914. There are also records relating to market intelligence in sugar cane areas.

The records are clearly catalogued and fall into distinct groups: Financial statements, Records of branches and subsidiaries, Commercial records; Partnership records, limited companies and external agreements. The greater part of these records are concerned with European markets. The major overseas outlet was through Magdeburg, at the very heart of the German sugar beet region. There are financial statements for this branch for 1913, 1914-1920, 1931, and for some of the subsidiary agencies in Budapest, Prague, Breslau, Vienna, Kiev, Milan, Bucharest in 1913, Prague 1920-29 (catalogued AC8/23-35). Similarly, there is much correspondence with Magdeburg and related markets for various years between 1900 and 1913 (AD6/2-5), commercial records c.1870 for Magdeburg (AD/7u), and legal records 1871-3 and 1922-4 (CO1/9-79). Limited company records refer to overseas companies in the inter-war years (C02/39-79).

Of course, these records are by no means exclusively, or even primarily, concerned with sugar beet production but it was from the sugar beet areas that the main European demand was forthcoming. Indeed, an interesting delivery chart, in large format, for the years 1868-1918 (AD5/1) clearly illustrates the importance of the Magdeburg branch as the major single outlet.

But this company is of further interest because its operations also included sugar cane areas. Annual financial statements have some figures for Bombay and South Africa (AC7/1) but of more interest are records of branches and subsidiaries, for example in South Africa 1904-1916, which are concerned specifically with sugar cane production (AD6/11-15). There are also commercial records for Portuguese East Africa 1911 (AD7/18), South Africa 1887-9 (AD7/19), and letters concerning sugar cane in Cuba 1874 and 1910-24 (AD7/22-30). In addition some of the legal records are concerned with outlets in Australasia and the East Indies (C02/39-79).

The company was not concerned with selling machinery exclusively to sugar producing areas and much of the information in their records is scattered and incidental. It is of interest, however, because their marketing was in both cane and beet growing regions. It also seems the most promising company to investigate from this point of view. Ransomes records have some trading statistics for Peru 1875-83 (AD7/47) and extensive sales analyses for 1871 to 1939 in a variety of markets. Similarly, Wantage engineering had geographically extensive sales though it is not known if they had direct links with sugar production. Most of their records are of a legal nature (C03/5-13) relating to the 1890s.

In all these cases the relevant overseas markets were areas growing sugar beet or cane, and the machinery was concerned with the cultivation of sugar bearing plants rather than the manufacture of sugar.

Anyone intending to make use of these archives should write to the archivist, in advance as, although visitors are welcome, it is usually necessary to make an appointment. The address is:


Michael Moynagh, Brown or White? A History of the Fiji Sugar Industry, 1873-1973 (ANU Press, P.O. Box 4, Canberra, Australia ACT 2600), pp. 311, A$ 9.00

H. Rothman, F. Rosillo-Calle, and R. Greenshields, The Alcohol Economy: Fuel, Ethanol and the Brazilian Experience (London: Frances Pinter, 1982), pp. 220, 13.75 pounds.

Ronald Takaki, Plantation Life and Labour in Hawaii, 1835-1920 (University of Hawaii Press, 1983).

Leroy Vail and Landeg White, Capitalism and Colonialism in Mozambique: A Study of the Quelimane District (London: Heinemann, and Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1981), pp. 419.

World Sugar History Newsletter compiled by: Bill Albert, School of Economic & Social Studies, UEA, Norwich; Adrian Graves, Department of Economic History, University of Edinburgh.
All correspondence to Bill Albert, School of Economic & Social Studies, University of East Anglia, NORWICH NR4 7TJ, UK.